In 1609 a British ship named the Sea Venture sailing to Virginia was caught in a storm and foundered on an uninhabited island in the Atlantic. After a number of months the castaway sailors were rescued and returned to England.
Word soon spread to London of this exciting adventure, and the mysterious island in the New World. William Shakespeare was so captivated by the tale that he was inspired to write one of his last plays: The Tempest. Since then, this jewel in the ocean called Bermuda has inspired the imaginations of countless generations.
I recently visited Bermuda, which I have visited several times over the years. As I luxuriated in the island’s attractions, I thought about the readers of Corporate Meetings Network and the needs of special events planners. For such a small place, Bermuda offers an extraordinary range of special events opportunities.
From the smallest destination event to a mega corporate occasion, Bermuda has the facilities to host every requirement with an easy, relaxed charm. Within its 20 square miles is a complete range of accommodations from charming bed and breakfasts to world-class luxury resorts. I am sure this is why Bermuda’s was chosen to host one of the greatest world yachting events, the America’s Cup, next year.
My favourite place to stay is the lovely boutique family-owned hotel the Rosedon. In the span of the 40 years that I have known it, its charm has grown and supreme level of personalized service never diminished. The staff, many of whom have been there 30 years, transform a picturesque setting into an idyllic experience. The hotel cat and official greeter, Owen, adds his own special memories.
At the other end of the size spectrum, the Fairmont Southampton and the Hamilton Princess play host to major corporate events with understated efficiency.
How so many spectacular golf courses are packed into such a small place is a mystery. I am happy to report that the breathtaking ocean views stretching out over emerald green fairways so distracted my companions that they failed to notice what a dreadful golfer I am.
Then there are the beaches. Unlike the great sweeping beaches that stretch for miles in southwest Florida, Bermuda’s many beaches are intimate affairs nestled in coves that seem custom made for tranquillity and privacy. Warning: if you go to Elbow Beach you may never want to leave.
Environmental studies (and Chardonnay)
Bermuda is not just business and relaxations. Its extensive caves are a geological wonder. The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences is a must see for anyone interested in the environment – it also houses one of the island’s best restaurants. I have learned that environmental studies and Chardonnay are a natural combination.
The Bermudians are among the most world travelled cosmopolitan people I have ever met. One taxi driver told me that his two favourite places were New Zealand’s South Island and Victoria, British Columbia’s Butchart Gardens. (I suppose people who live on islands have an affinity for other islands.) This well-educated worldliness gives the island’s residents an easygoing self-assuredness not often seen in tourist destinations.
If continuous loud music and raucous fun is what you seek, then Bermuda is likely not for you or your clients.
So what makes Bermuda so special?
- Its location is convenient, under two hours flying time from New York.
- It has Goldilocks weather – not too hot, not too cold.
- Its history and architecture are unforgettable. Bermuda has more churches per capita than anywhere, each unique in its design and perfect in its upkeep.
- Above all, what makes Bermuda so special is its civility. There are no garish intrusions of huckster-like events. Instead the highlight of the time that I was there was the agriculture show where one could admire the locally grown flowers and the wide variety of pet rabbits.
When planning special events, be sure to keep Bermuda in mind. Perhaps the way to do that is to keep in mind the words of Shakespeare himself when he writes in The Tempest:
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!